Dane Rampe after the Swans' R14 win over Hawthorn in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

In the fourth episode of Toe to Toe with Damo, Sydney's quirky co-captain Dane Rampe speaks to AFL.com.au's chief football reporter Damian Barrett

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DANE Rampe is convinced he wouldn’t have survived one season in the AFL had he been drafted as an 18-year-old.

The Sydney Swans co-captain, who last year added a club best-and-fairest award to his 2016 All-Australian guernsey, says four years of toil in the VFL and local Sydney competitions allowed him to gain life perspective and an ability to detect "what is important and what isn't".


Defenders Dane Rampe, Alex Rance and Jeremy McGovern put on their All-Australian blazers. Picture: AFL Photos

Speaking with AFL.com.au, Rampe said: "I always felt getting onto a list might be the hardest part. I went back to Sydney at the end of 2011 with my tail between my legs, played local footy, holding onto a glimmer of hope.

"I do know that the three years I spent in Melbourne held weight. It was of value, they (the Swans) didn’t care what I did in 2012, they went over the vision of the previous years.


"The thing you get to experience when you're not in the system is you get to live life on the other side … and I think I have an appreciation for what is important and what isn’t. 

"… I have absolutely no doubt if I was picked up first year out of school, I woudn't be in the system now. I wouldn't have handled it, I wasn’t ready." 

Rampe, recruited by the Swans as a late selection in the 2013 rookie draft, said it was an undesired positive that the Swans missed the finals in 2019, just the first time in John Longmire's nine seasons as coach, and only the second time since 2002.

 "If you look at it glass half full, you get that extra bit of the pre-season and off-season, and in the last few years we have at times been limping into finals, and then having to have surgeries as a result of it," he said. 

"This season we've had nearly 40 blokes training, nearly unheard of. It sucks missing finals but it does give you extra motivation."